Amazon is bringing more and more apparel into its e-commerce fold.
And increasingly, third-party sellers are fueling that growth as many may be parting with their previous Amazon standoffs and embracing more of the ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ mentality.
In analyzing 1.12 million apparel products across men’s and women’s categories on Amazon, Coresight Research said in a report released Tuesday, that in the time between February and September 2018, apparel listings on Amazon increased 27.3 percent—driven largely by a 30.5 percent leap in third-party listings. By contrast, clothing items listed for sale by Amazon itself increased just 2.2 percent.
“As Amazon builds its fashion offering through partnerships with brands and the expansion of its private-label offering, one might expect the share of clothing offered by those third-party sellers to fall. But, in fact, we have seen the opposite,” Coresight said in the report. Of the 1.12 million products surveyed, researchers found just 11.1 percent listed as for sale by Amazon, compared to the 88.9 percent on offer from third-party sellers.
When it comes to Amazon’s apparel product mix, that’s shifting in line with sellers’ behavior, too.
“In just over six months, we have seen major brand shifts on Amazon Fashion,” Coresight said. “The number of Nike listings has slumped 46 percent, driven entirely by a drop in third-party listings that followed Amazon’s partnership with Nike. The number of Tommy Hilfiger products has grown rapidly, fueled by third-party sellers. Under Armour listings have grown strongly on the back of many more first-party listings.”
While sportswear may have fueled much of Amazon’s early success in apparel, Coresight said the e-tailer is rebalancing its offering, with categories like suiting showing sizable growth. Findings from the research show a 98.6 percent increase in women’s suiting and blazer listings, and a 52.2 percent rise in men’s suits and sport coats between February and September this year.
In other apparel categories for women’s, jumpsuits, rompers and overalls saw the biggest spike, with the category growing 184.6 percent in the little more than six-month period. Pants and sweaters also saw strong growth, with the former showing a 67.9 percent increase in product listings on Amazon, and the latter ramping up 63.3 percent.
In men’s, suiting saw the biggest increase across categories, with listings for jackets and coats growing 46.6 percent, followed by sweaters at 44.6 percent.
And what’s perhaps of particular note, the leading five brands among Amazon’s top 30 brands by number of listings, aren’t really brands at all.
“In the past half year, low-price generic brands have made a major incursion into Amazon’s listings, and these anonymous, often-imported goods are swamping the branded offering,” Coresight said. “Four unknown ‘brands’ (which actually offer unbranded products) have captured the top positions on the list of brands offered on Amazon Fashion: brands such as WSPLYSPJY, Cruiize and Comfy are shipped to customers, apparently from China, with long delivery times of five weeks or more.”
WSPLYSPJY alone, which outnumbers the next most prevalent brand by a threefold sum, had 96,210 products listed on Amazon as of September. That’s an 8.6 percent share of all of Amazon’s men’s and women’s apparel listings and the non-brand wasn’t even available on Amazon earlier this year.
Cruiize, Comfy and two more unbranded “brands”—Fubotevic and ZeroGravitee—rounded out the top five with the most product available on Amazon. Gildan ranked No. 6, followed by Hanes, Calvin Klein, Sport-Tek and Ralph Lauren to complete the top 10.
“The number of Gildan listings on Amazon Fashion grew significantly between February and September this year,” Coresight said, adding that Gildan chief financial and administrative officer Rhodri Harries said during an earnings call in May that the company launched the full line of Gildan branded men’s underwear on Amazon in January, and that, “sell-through has exceeded our expectations, and our men’s underwear brand is now among Amazon’s top-selling brands in this category.”
In sum, all signs point to Amazon Fashion maturing, though its apparent attack on the apparel industry with its own private label product seems to, in fact, be much more understated.
“The rankings of most-listed products have been swamped by ultralow-price, generic clothing items that are dispatched on order from China,” Coresight said. “Amazon has not been growing its own inventory to burnish its credentials as a fashion retailer.”